Why I Like 'The Good Doctor' as a Person on the Autism Spectrum

As someone on the autism spectrum, I was hesitant to watch the new TV show “The Good Doctor,” which features the main character of Dr. Shaun Murphy as an adult on the autism spectrum, making his way in the world as a new surgeon. Some of the other shows I’ve seen so far that have featured a character on the spectrum just didn’t seem right to me. Their stories were too depressing, or maybe they used the character as comic relief. Whatever the reason, I didn’t enjoy those other shows.

However, I can personally say that “The Good Doctor” is my favorite TV show with a character on the spectrum. While some television has portrayed the diagnosis in a depressing or humorous way, this show is different. It’s a bit more inspiring, but still relatable to my personal experiences.

No, the character is not exactly like me. In fact, he may be struggling a lot more than I do with certain deficits. I understand that some people may be treating me with prejudice, where he seems to be either confused or oblivious. I’m also not setting a timer for every task in my schedule like showering or brushing my teeth. And although my childhood was difficult at times, my parents love and support me.

Yet in other ways, I struggle more than Dr. Murphy does. With hard work, he has become a doctor. At 28 years old, I am just starting to get used to college. I have a terrific memory, but I do not remember entire textbooks of information with accuracy, complete with detailed photos and descriptions. Plus, I don’t always have a lot of self-confidence. It’s very difficult for me to trust my instincts. However, this seems to be his greatest strength. He knows he is right and is determined to help people.

Watching him succeed with his different way of thinking reminds me that sometimes other people just don’t understand my thought process. It doesn’t always mean my ideas are wrong. The show also reminds me that even though there may be mean people in the world, there will also be supportive, kind people. Yes, a few will judge me or underestimate my abilities. But there are still folks who believe in me and are on my side. They want to help and watch me succeed. In fact, they may even want to learn from me.

I feel “The Good Doctor” is a show that finally presents a character on the spectrum in a more complex way. We don’t just see the negative side. The show also doesn’t make things seem like they are all sunshine and rainbows. And as a person on the spectrum, it inspires me to use my strengths to work around my weaknesses. Being on the autism spectrum isn’t a death sentence. It’s just a different lifestyle. Yes, life will be a challenge at times, but that’s just another opportunity for me to overcome the challenges and succeed.

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